Stockholm, Sweden – Mikko Ilonen fired a sizzling 7-under 65 on Saturday to jump into the lead following three rounds of the Nordea Masters.
Ilonen finished 54 holes at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club at 18-under-par 198. He will try for his third career win on the European Tour and his first since 2007 on Sunday.
"I need to shoot another low score and I can do it, but we've got 18 holes to go and lots of other guys are still hunting me," Ilonen said.
Ilonen's mark was not the low round of the day, however, as Alexander Noren did one better with an 8-under 64 to move into second place at 16-under.
Matteo Manassero, who held at least a share of the lead at the end of both the first and second rounds, tripped to a double bogey at his final hole en route to a 1-under 71, dropping him into a share of third place with Jonas Blixt (66) at minus-14.
Rikard Karlberg (67) owns sole possession of fifth at 12-under, while Bernd Wiesberger matched Noren's 64 to move into a sixth-place tie with Thomas Bjorn (68) and Joost Luiten (70) at 11-under 205.
Ilonen started his charge up the leaderboard with a 12-foot birdie putt at the second, and later picked up a couple more strokes at the sixth and ninth to hit the turn at 14-under, moving a stroke ahead of overnight leader Manassero.
The 2007 winner of this event then hit his approach to three feet at the 13th and kicked that in for a birdie before rolling in another short birdie effort at the 14th.
On the next hole, Ilonen saw his third shot land just beyond the pin and spin back into the cup for an eagle to move to 18-under.
"It was raining and I just tried to squeeze it in there and got lucky with it a bit," Ilonen said about the shot.
He closed with three straight pars to stay there.
Noren, meanwhile, opened with a blistering pace as he collected three birdies over his first four holes, capping the run with an 80-foot putt at the fourth.
A bogey at the fifth briefly halted his momentum, but he quickly recovered with a birdie at the sixth.
After a pair of pars, the Swede hit his second shot at the par-5 ninth to about 10 feet and converted the eagle putt to make the turn at 13-under.
He picked up a couple more shots with consecutive birdies at the 12th and 13th before pouring in another long birdie putt from 40 feet at the 16th to reach 16-under.
"I hit a lot of good putts and I holed a lot of them -- I don't know where it came from, amazing putting," said Noren. "I've played here a lot; I'm from an hour away, it's the best course in Sweden and it is a beautiful place."
Manassero made the turn at even par on the day after trading a bogey at the fifth with a birdie at the ninth.
After a string of three straight birdies from the 13th moved him into a share of second with Noren, he dumped his second shot at the 18th into the water en route to a double bogey to finish four strokes off the pace.
NOTES: Noren won here in 2011 and is seeking his fourth career win on the European Tour ... Manassero became the youngest-ever winner of the BMW PGA Championship last week ... Six of the last 10 winners are in the field.